Usability issues kill Customer Experience. Is your site guilty of these 5 oversights?

Fixing technical errors is one thing, but development teams also need to be on the lookout for seemingly innocent usability flaws and failings. Here's 5 to look out for.
Fixing technical errors is one thing, but development teams also need to be on the lookout for seemingly innocent usability flaws and failings. Here's 5 to look out for.

Fixing technical errors is one thing, but development teams also need to be on the lookout for seemingly innocent usability flaws and failings.

Why? Because these oversights have the power to totally derail your Customer Experience — losing you sales, and damaging your brand value, too.

5 easy to overlook — but vital to fix — website usability issues (and how to uncover them)

1. Poor scannability 

“Scannability” is an internet-era word, and applies to just about every piece of digital content we consume. Put simply, scannability has to do with text and how quick it is understood.

Eye-tracking heat maps show that web users glance at a number of elements, before deciding whether the site they’re on is right for them. These elements will differ, depending on the website’s role, but of particular importance are: your headlines, icons, buttons, and navigation menu.

Consider for a moment the experience of arriving on your website for the first time: what does the visitor learn in the first few seconds? If their takeaway in on-brand, with your product and benefits clearly described, then great — you can mark this issue as resolved.

If, on the other hand, the visitor would struggle to know who you are, what you do, and why they should care… then this is an issue to fix and fast. Trying to pile too much information onto your pages? Remember: 1 landing page = 1 goal. At UserReplay our clients also see big variances on the performance of the same content on desktop and mobile, depending on the layout. You get to see all that info through clickmaps, and it indicate how you might optimize the design of those pages.

How do you know if your website has scannability issues?

The problem is, designers and developers may be blind to scannability issues themselves. Of course you understand what your website is saying — but, chances are, you’re too close to the product to give a fair assessment. In this case, nothing beats seeing your website’s user experience through a customer’s eyes.

2. Hidden contact information

Websites don’t live in isolation. And even the most beautifully-designed site falls short if it’s not a meaningful part of the wider customer journey.

In short: make sure visitors can contact you if they need to. Maybe they have a question about a product, or need to check your opening hours. Perhaps they’re following up on a delivery, or (worse) have a dispute to raise. Either way, your website will be their first port of call for all questions and queries — don’t let it be a dead end.

By having easy to access contact information you are potentially mitigating against public reputation damage if customers resort to social channels to contact you in a public forum

Use it as an opportunity to try and preemptively answer customer questions before they request customer service…. offer up relevant help articles on your contact form journey

How do you know if your website is hiding contact information?

There’s two levels to this issue — totally hidden contact information, and information that’s displayed in an unintuitive way. If you have absolutely no contact details on your website, you should be able to see that yourselves. But if your phone number, email address, and social media links are there (just in a place that no-one’s looking), you need the customer to tell you.

3. Limited searchability

By “searchability”, we aren’t referring to your website’s SEO (though that is something to consider carefully, too). We’re talking about the search functionality built into your website — a little magnifying glass somewhere on your webpage, to help visitors find what they’re looking for.

Some websites fail to implement any search functionality at all — the closest thing being a site map, which couldn’t be less ideal for Customer Experience.

Other websites may think they’ve done enough for searchability, but the customer would say otherwise — and this is more common. 

We’ve all been through the frustration of searching that something you know is there, but that you can’t seem to find. Your visitors don’t want the same ordeal.

UserReplay helps our customers analyze every customer search and highlights things they are looking for and not finding any results. 

How do you know if your website has searchability issues?

Again, the only way to truly understand the successes and struggles of a user’s on-site experience is by observing it for yourself. Better still, this observation should be done in natural conditions — if you’re running an in-person usability test, the user may downplay their frustration or exhibit fewer “rage clicks” than they would do IRL.

4. Laborious checkout processes (often pushing for sign-up)

For the vast majority of websites, conversion is the priority. So why would you make checkout harder than it has to be?

Yet it happens all too often: the visitor gets through to a purchase, and — bam — they’re hit with a registration request. Sure, this may be a great opportunity for data collection. But, for the customer, what benefit is there in signing up before they pay — especially if it’s their first time buying from you?

While this interruption may not be enough to lose the sale for good, it’s not going to do much for your Customer Experience Score. And for some visitors, it may well be off-putting enough to leave.

Instead, give visitors the option of completing the purchase as a member or as a guest. Then they can decide for themselves.

Add a one-click checkout feature (through PayPal, for example) and you’re making the process much more user-friendly — encouraging repeat purchasing as a result.

How do you know if your payment processes are putting people off?

Some buyers will be happy to go through a registration process before purchasing. For some big ticket items they may even prefer to. Or they may not.

It all comes down to observing your users in action. Does it add value to ask for an email address, DOB, etc? How many visitors take this call to action? And how many bounce? Monitor these behaviors over time, and you’ll paint a pretty clear picture of what’s working and what’s not.

5. Ignoring the two-second and three-click rules

The two-second and three-click rules are early UX mantras that remain relevant today. Both relate to how quickly a user can find and access certain information to keep wait times as short as possible. 

The two-second rule refers to your system’s response time — it argues that switching pages, using web apps, completing a form, etc., should all take less than two seconds (permitting the user’s WiFi is up to the task).

The three-click rule is similar but relates to actions rather than timing. It warns that if a user has to perform more than three clicks to achieve a certain task, they will leave your website.

How do you know if your website is adhering to the two-second and three-click rule?

Unless you’re experiencing high bounce rates, you’re probably in the clear. But if you’re worried about your conversion figures — or you just want to know where you can do better — a combination of in-house speed testing and real-time user feedback will help you out.

Usability design is an iterative process, so where should you focus your energy?

There’s no such thing as “the perfect website”. Development teams always have something to improve upon — either in fixing a technical error, or adding and tweaking features to nurture Customer Experience.

So where do you start?

UserReplay is the only customer experience tool that runs in real-time. By monitoring every one of your website’s customer interactions, our platform flags early usability issues before they become a problem. If something’s amiss, UserReplay will pick it up.

Put the power of billions of data points to use, and request your demo today.

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